Young ski jumpers capture podiums
Ryan Summerlin March 4, 2014
Submitted by Women’s Ski Jumping USA
FALUN, Sweden – American Nina Lussi captured her first career Continental Cup (COC) win Saturday in Falun, Sweden, where next year, athletes from around the world will descend for the 2015 World Nordic Ski Championships.
Lussi backed up the win with a second-place finish on Sunday, followed by teammate Nita Englund, who claimed her first COC podium finish. Lussi came to Falun looking to build on the success of her fifth- and sixth-place finishes in Lahti, Finland, in mid-February.
"My win was really amazing and slightly surreal. I didn’t know what to do after they announced that I kept the lead after the first round," the 19-year-old Lussi said. "I did get goosebumps when they played the National Anthem."
Lussi jumped 81 and 80.5 meters to win on Saturday and put up a pair of 82-meter jumps on Sunday for second place, just missing the top spot by 3.3 points. Finland’s Susanna Forsstroem won Sunday’s event.
"I am very satisfied with this weekend, and being up on the podium with Nita was great. It’s a confidence boost and I had to smile when asked if I would be returning for World Championships next year. That’s always been a goal of mine, and I am hoping to make it a reality," said Lussi, a native of Lake Placid, N.Y., who moved to Park City this past year to train full time with her teammates on the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team.
Englund, 21, has battled a nagging ankle injury this season but is now climbing back to top jumping shape. She made her World Cup debut this season in Japan with her Visa teammates. Englund finished fifth on Saturday and then put together two solid jumps on Sunday of 80.5 and 81.5 meters to finish third and take her first career podium. She had four top-10 career COC results coming into Falun.
"I was having a lot of fun on the hill this weekend and my jumps are consistently improving, which means a lot more to me than just a podium finish," Englund said.